An Arkansas based crop dusting company has been banned from flying planes in Iowa. The action comes after Kin Company Ag Aviation sprayed 36 corn detasslers near Marshalltown last month. Many of the detasslers were hospitalized.
Pilot Billy Dale Kinder also had his certification rescinded and will not be allowed to apply pesticide in Iowa. Chuck Eckermann, with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says it’s the harshest penalty the state can apply. "We consider this a serious situation," Eckermann says, "and we felt it was necessary to make sure that all applicators abide by the rules." Kinder was spraying fungicide on a field, and failed to notice the detasslers in a nearby field.
Eckermann says the only set rules for crop dusting pilots is that they need to follow the directions on the label of the pesticide, and in this case, Kinder failed to "avoid drift to unprotected people." Kin Company Ag Aviation was subcontracted to spray the field by Hoppy Airspray of Beamon, Iowa. Hoppy Airspray was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident.